WASHINGTON IRVING, one of the most eminent, talented and popular of American authors, was born in New York City,
April 3, 1783. His father was William Irving, a merchant and a native of Scotland, who had married an English lady
and emigrated to America some twenty years prior to the birth of Washington. Two of the older sons, William and
Peter, were partially occupied with newspaper work and literary pursuits, and this fact naturally inclined Washington
to follow their example. Washington Irving was given the advantages afforded by the common schools until about
sixteen years of age when he began studying law, but continued to acquire his literary training by diligent perusal
at home of the older English writers. When nineteen he made his first literary venture by printing in the "Morning
Chronicle," then edited by his brother, Dr. Peter Irving, a series of local sketches under the nom-de-plume
of ''Jonathan Oldstyle." in 1804 he began an extensive trip through Europe, returned in 1806, quickly cornpleted
his legal studies and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced the profession. In 1807 he began the amusing
serial "Salmagundi," which had an immediate success, and not only decided his future career but long
determined the character of his writings. In 1808, assisted by his brother Peter, he wrote "Knickerbocker's
History of New York," and in 1810 an excellent biography of Campbell, the poet, After this, for some time,
Irving's attention was occupied by mercantile interests, but the commercial house in which he was a partner failed
in 1817. In 1874 he was editor of the Philadelphia "Analectic Magazine." About 1818 appeared his "SketchBook,"
over the nom-de-plume of ''Geoffrey Crayon," which laid the foundation of Irving's fortune and permanent fame.
This was soon followed by the legends of "Sleepy Hollow," and "Rip Van Winkle," which at once
took high rank as literary productions, and Irving's reputation was firmly established in both the old and new
worlds. After this the path of Irving was smooth, and his subsequent writings appeared with rapidity, including
"Bracebridge Hall," "The Tales of a Traveler," "History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher
Columbus," ''The Conquest of Granada," "The Alhambra," "Tour on the Prairies," "Astoria,"
"Adventures of Captain Bonneville," ''Wolfert's Roost," ''Mahomet and his Successors," and
"Life of Washington," besides other works.
Washington Irving was never married, He resided during the closing years of his life at Sunnyside (Terrytoen) on
the Hudson, where he died November 28, 1859.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
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